I met up with James at the Basha's in North Scottsdale (Bell and Thompson Peak) at 10:00 and the plan was to finally ride Tom's Thumb up in the McDowells. This trail was opened up about year ago.
The weather was perfect. Not cold, and it definitely wasn't gonna be hot. We had a little bit of high clouds and winds were kinda pumping on top.
Usually the ride up to nearby Windgate takes about an hour, but this one took us about 2 hours and 15 minutes. I was on my Reign X, which is topping the scales at 37lbs. Despite the weight, the bike really stuck to the trail. I was pretty familiar with the first half the pedal up, and the new trail up to Tom's Thumb started off in the same manner, but then about a mile and half from the top, the trail took us up a steep hill with about 18 bazillion swithbacks. These swithbacks were super steep and didn't allow for much room to come around. It kinda felt like Donkey Kong the walking up the 45 degree angle girders. The great part of this trail is that you pretty much had the goal in sight the whole time.
The trail composition change about a quarter mile before arriving at the Tom's Thumb Pass, to crushed granite cinder. It also changed to a moon landscape, as the trail meandered through giant boulders. Really rewarding a scenic.
James and I decided to continue down the backside of Tom's Thumb to where it intersects with Windmill (Windgate and Coachwhip). The cinder riding was fast, but kinda sketchy. Then couple this with steep decline with nasty switchbacks and y'all have yourself a pretty exciting ride. No big drops to speak up, but it was pretty thrilling. I was glad I had my big bike, with my big tires and big rotors.
We then climbed back up to the top of Windgate, maybe about 600 or 700 Vf of climbing. The rip down Windgate was a hoot. I was railing, and the big travel big soaked everything up.
I believe this loop was about 14 miles and it took us about 4.5 hours.
Here's the vid of day:
Here's a Google Earth Model of the Route: